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September 16, 2019

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Falcons game

Eagles NFL
091619JulioJones Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles' pass defense is giving up a hell of a lot of yards.

In what was an absolutely crazy game, the Philadelphia Eagles fell to 1-1 on the road against the Atlanta Falcons, by the final score of 24-20. As always, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'Bodybag' award: Like, the whole team

A list of players who got hurt at some point during this game:

  1. QB Carson Wentz
  2. WR DeSean Jackson
  3. WR Alshon Jeffery
  4. WR Nelson Agholor
  5. TE Dallas Goedert
  6. DT Timmy Jernigan
  7. CB Sidney Jones
  8. RB Corey Clement

The Eagles were arguably the team most effected by injuries in the NFL last season, and the carnage has continued over into 2019.

It's going to be a long week of sorting out how badly each of those guys are hurt, and how long each of them will be out.

2) The 'Resiliency' Award: Carson Wentz

Wentz had a downright bad first half, throwing a couple of interceptions, including whatever this was supposed to be.

Maybe this hit affected him early?

In the second half, he was a star, willing the Eagles to come from behind, making some insane plays along the way, including this gem:

And this: 

Wentz led a go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter, and would have led another one if not for some of his teammates failing to make plays.

3) The Mmmmmmmm Drrrrrrrrrrrrop' Award: Nelson Agholor

This was #AmongTheWorst drops I've ever seen:

I mean, Good Lord. If Wentz ran the ball out to Agholor, I don't think he could have put him in a better position to catch the football. Agholor actually had a good night statistically, as he caught eight passes for 107 yards and a TD, but all anyone is going to remember is that drop.

4) The 'Roasted' Award: Ronald Darby

Darby is very clearly not 100 percent, as his speed isn't where it used to be. The Falcons came in with a plan to attack Darby, and they did so successfully for the better part of the night. 

It's just flat out odd that Jim Schwartz didn't take him out of the game, especially given that he is rotating the Eagles' corners on the outside anyway.

5) The 'Die By the Blitz' Award: Jim Schwartz

I know that everyone likes blitzes, and a major criticism of Schwartz is that he doesn't blitz enough, but the blitz can cost you. As Schwartz noted after the Washington game, the two plays in which Terry McLaurin got behind the Eagles' defense, he had called blitzes.

Against Atlanta, Schwartz dialed up a "zero blitz," or a blitz without any safety help at all, and Matt Ryan checked to a play that could beat it.

I know a number of fans wanted the officials to flag that play for an illegal man downfield call on Jake Matthews, or a block in the back by Mohamed Sanu, but, no.

• I asked Jason Kelce post-game if an illegal man downfield penalty should have been called, and he pretty adamantly said no.

• That's not a block in the back. If it you really want to squint hard enough to turn it into one, if you want a flag there for a block in the back, then you want to watch an absolutely horrible flag-party product.

It was just a good play call at the right time against the right defense. If you want to be furious over, say, the non-fumble against Dallas last year, go right ahead. But save your anger for calls like that, and tip your cap on this one.

6) The 'Get Minkah Fitzpatrick' Award: Andrew Sendejo

Yes, Darby got burnt on Matt Ryan's deep ball to Calvin Ridley, but at least he was in the same zip code, which is more than can be said for Andrew Sendejo: 

Later, not that you'd expect any safety to run down Julio Jones, it looked for a second like Sendejo might have a chance, and then... no.

Minkah Fitzpatrick would look good in the Eagles' defense.

7) The 'Big Balls Doug' Award; Doug Pederson

4th and Goal from the 4, down 11 in the 3rd quarter... No hesitation. Pederson opted to go for it, and the Eagles got it. 

070318DougPederson

As we note often here, there aren't many head coaches who would make that call. Obviously, the Eagles lost this game, but Pederson and his staff in the booth routinely give the Eagles a better chance of winning by making those unconventional, but absolutely correct calls.

8) The 'Sieve' Award: The Eagles' pass defense

Through two games, the Eagles are surrendering the most passing yards per game (370.0) in the league, and by a pretty big margin. The Eagles could allow 0 passing yards next week, and they'd still be in the bottom half of the league.

9) The 'Non-Existent' Award: The Eagles' rushing attack

The surprise unavailability of Goedert hurt the Eagles' run game, in that they had planned to run out of 2-TE sets, but you'd still like to see them run it a little better than they did Sunday night. It seemed like the only successful running plays by the Eagles were on QB sneaks by Wentz.

Miles Sanders has a lot of ability, but he'll have to learn to stop dancing in the backfield. That's common for a rookie (LeSean McCoy did a lot of that early in his career), but he'll have to clean that up.

10) The 'Moral Victory' Award: The Eagles

Despite the absurd number of injuries suffered in the game, and the forced abandonment of the game plan they had for this matchup, the Eagles were in it until the very end, and had an opportunity to win a game they had no business winning. Not to be "participation trophy guy," but this is a loss that the Eagles can build on, and at a minimum, the players can feel good about their effort.

This is a likable team with a good culture, and they fought hard in a tough loss.


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